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Replacement door cappings
Tony Litchfield (Oxford Blue 1711) from Herefordshire found the surface lacquer on his door cappings had broken down in several places, with some damage to the veneer too. In this note he describes how he remedied the defects. (Sep 02)

My RV8 was in a lock up garage and unused for two years immediately prior to my purchase during which time the door cappings had suffered. The surface lacquer had broken down in several places and there was also damage to the burr elm veneer too. I tried to remove the coating carefully but the end result did not justify permanent reinstatement. I then tried to replace the cappings and found the cost of the replacement parts from my local MG Rover dealer was approaching £500 for the pair. Far too much for a hard up pensioner! So I then tried several other places for re-veneering but again found it difficult top locate the burr elm and then difficult to vacuum apply the veneer to the existing backing. I looked into the possibility of using solid timber, but found it impossible to source burr elm. Clearly many veneers could be taken from a solid of the thickness required which would give a better return to the supplier.

I then spoke to a local friend who could be described as a joinery expert who relishes a challenge. He sourced timber from several fallen elm trees in the village, cut two lengths oversize and allowed a period for these to dry out before making two cappings. I now have two perfect door cappings on the car in figured elm which looks immaculate. I would stress that they are not burr elm - they do not have the tight knot clusters where the branches were removed. However, as one who is difficult to please, I am happy with the result.

My friend has expressed a willingness to make further RV8 door cappings for members who are in the same position as myself prior to renewal. He has access to enough figured elm to make many pairs of RV8 cappings. The charge for a pair of new solid figured elm cappings would be £150.00 plus post and packaging which to my mind an excellent investment. The joiner is Matt Town in Ross-on-Wye who can be contacted on 01989 750817.

Footnote: This note was posted on the V8 Register website bulletin board in an abbreviated form in early September 2002 and two responses followed:

Keith Rowson (Oxford Blue 1764) mentioned in his message that he was having a similar problem with his dashboard, "as the veneer had cracked

noticeably. I visited Brown & Gammons last week to get a new car cover for my RV8 and talked with Malcolm Gammons about these difficulties. He said that if I could get the dashboard and cappings to B&G, they can get each item refinished as new for around £375 plus VAT. He commented that he has done six sets in the last month. So I have decided that I will get this job done during the winter with B&G unless anyone knows a less expensive but as good solution. I want to keep to the original timber".

Keith Baylis at Ames MG Rover at Bury St Edmunds, a helpful friend of the V8 Register, posted a note on the bulletin board saying "the price for new RV8 veneer door cappings quoted by Tony Litchfield from his visit to his local MG Rover dealer is unfortunately true. The cappings from MG Rover are £278.25 plus VAT. The fascia sets are £548.95 plus VAT and the console is £172.56 plus VAT".

"The refurbishment service mentioned by Keith Rowson which is offered by B&G involves stripping the lacquer and then the elm is put in a bath to treat for ageing. Any cracks are dealt with by the craftsmen. A new lacquer coating is then applied to complete the work and provide a fully satisfactory finish to the refurbished cappings. The charge of £350 is just for refurbishing a pair of RV8 door cappings. There is another charge of £350 for refurbishing the fascia set".

"You could however try contacting Roadsters - see their contacts set out in the V8 LIFELINE (the listing of V8 specialists at the back of each volume of the RV8 Workshop Notes series - as I understand they are able to buy new fascias at a better price than those quoted by MG Rover as they have contacts with the original suppliers of the veneer when the RV8 was in production. Once more the elm is being manufactured from a much higher grade of quality veneer".

Clive Wheatley
reports he has a veneer specialist in the West Midlands who is able to repair cracked RV8 veneers. This specialist does work on Rolls Royce cars so is used to high quality work. As an indication, the cost for refurbishing the door cappings and dashboard is likely to be around £300.00 plus VAT. Repairs to individual door cappings will of course be less but subject to examination to assess the scope of the defects or damage and the refurbishment workload. For Clive Wheatley's contacts, see his entry in the V8 LIFELINE at the back of this volume.


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